1. This is a plaintiff's application in revision under Section 25, Small Cause Courts Act. The suit out of which it arises was brought by the plaintiff to recover a certain amount from the defendants on the allegation that he had carried out certain repairs to some carriages of the defendants in accordance with an agreement between the parties. The suit was filed in the Court of Small Causes at Meerut on 30th March 1935 which was admittedly the last date of limitation. One of the grounds taken by the defendants was that the Meerut Court had no jurisdiction inasmuch as the agreement between the parties had taken place at Muzaffarnagar. The learned Small Cause Court Judge upheld that plea and consequently directed the return of the plaint to the plaintiff for presentation to the proper Court. This order was passed on 18th September 1935. The plaint was however actually returned to the plaintiff on 23rd September 1935 and he proceeded on the same date to file it in the Court of Small Causes at Muzaffarnagar, The learned Judge of the Small Cause Court of Muzaffarnagar has now held that the suit is barred by time because the plaintiff had not given any explanation as to why he did not get back the plaint from the Court on the very day on which the order was passed and did not present it on the same day to the proper Court. Upon this preliminary ground the suit has been thrown out. Hence this application in revision.
2. Having regard to the admitted facts of the case and the large volume of authority bearing upon them, I have not the slightest doubt that the learned Small Cause Court Judge went wholly wrong in deciding the question of limitation against the plaintiff. He seems to be of the opinion that under Section 14, Limitation Act, the plaintiff was entitled to exclude only the period ending on 18th September 1935, that is the date on which the Small Cause Court at Meerut passed the order directing his plaint to be returned for presentation to the proper Court. The first question therefore is whether the learned Judge was right in holding this opinion. Expln. 1 to Section 14, Limitation Act, which has an important bearing upon the question under consideration provides that
in excluding the time during which a former suit or application was pending, the day on which that suit or application was instituted or made and the date on which the proceedings therein ended shall both be counted.
3. The answer to the question set out above depends upon the true interpretation of 'the date on which the proceedings therein ended.' If the true interpretation is that the proceedings always come to an end on the date on which the Court passes an order directing the plaint to be returned, the view taken by the learned Small Cause Court Judge would be right. I find however that there is a large volume of authority against that view and it has been held by almost all the High Courts that the proceedings do not necessarily come to an end when the Court records an order that the plaint should be returned for presentation to the proper Court. It has been pointed out in some cases that under Order 7, Rule 10 which governs the returning of a plaint for presentation to the proper Court something: further has to be done by the Court before the plaint is actually returned to the plaintiff. An endorsement has to be made upon the plaint about the date of its presentation and return, the name of the party presenting it and a brief statement of the reasons for returning it. It is thus pointed out that the Court has seisin of the plaint up till it is actually returned to the plaintiff even after the order directing the return of the plaint has been passed. It is mainly upon this ground that the various High Courts have arrived at the conclusion that proceedings come to an end within the meaning of Section 14, Limitation Act, not on the date on which the order directing the return of the plaint is recorded but on the date on which the plaint is actually returned to the plaintiff. In support of this view reference may be made to the case in Bisheshar Singh v. Ram Daur Singh (1887) A.W.N. 302. The authority of this case was accepted and followed by the Madras High-Court in Sinnakaruppan v. Muthiah Chettiar : AIR1926Mad178 and by a Bench of the Calcutta High Court in Mohendra Prosad Singh v. Nand Prosad Singh (1913) 17 C.W.N. 1043. The Bombay High Court also arrived at the same decision in Basvanappa v. Krishnadas Govardhandas (1921) 8 A.I.R. Bom. 379. It is thus clear that the learned Small Cause Court Judge in this case took a thoroughly erroneous view of the law applicable to the facts before him. As this is a revision under Section 25, Small Cause Courts Act, the powers of this Court are not limited by the conditions laid down in Section 115, Civil P.C. The learned Small Cause Court Judge has taken an erroneous view of the law which has resulted in substantial injustice and I think, that is a sufficient ground for interference in revision.
4. The result therefore is that I allow this application and setting aside the judgment and decree passed by the Small Cause Court Judge direct that the suit shall be retried by him in accordance with law. The plaintiff shall have his costs in this Court from the opposite party.